MILWAUKEE -- Construction crews at Discovery World on Milwaukee's lakefront broke ground on a 20,000 square foot expansion Tuesday morning.
The $18 million project will take roughly one year to complete. It's funded entirely by private donations.
The Reiman Foundation provided the largest chunk of the funding.
Discovery World CEO Joel Brennan said the non-profit still needs to raise about $6-million for the expansion.
"The needs of the community have changed, the future needs of the community are going to be different, and this allows us to adapt and grow," Brennan said.
When complete, the expansion will add a new pavilion to the North side of the building. It will also transform one of Discovery World's two theaters into a new entrance and exhibit gallery.
The increased space will allow the non-profit, science and technology center to accommodate more visitors, including children from local schools.
A group of 50 children from Congress School attended this morning's groundbreaking.
The new facilities should help Discovery World expose more students to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.
"There are lots of economic opportunities for young people in science, technology, engineering and math. Kids need to know there are opportunities there for them," Brennan said.
As a result of the renovations, Discovery World will be able to house more exhibits, and have additional space for traveling/visiting shows.
"There are big exhibits that don't come to Milwaukee because there's no space to house them," Brennan said. "This will give us the ability to do that."
All of the construction is expected to finish by early 2019.